Whilst I was on holiday I finally got round to reading Fatal Storm, Rob Mundle's excellent account of the events during the 1998 Sydney-Hobart Race.
The conditions experienced and their effects on the yachts involved are enough to make most people think twice about going to sea in small craft. Whilst the chance that you will ever encounter anything remotely similar is incredibly unlikely I do believe that all people who venture more than a few miles from sheltered waters should read this book.
All yacht owners should consider what they have done in the way of equiping their vessel and crew suitably to enable them to survive the situations described in this book. Unfortunately no yachts are sold with all the extra fittings and equipment that are necessary for surviving an extreme storm in open waters. Even simple things like will the batteries and cooker remain in position is the boat is rolled to an extreme angle are often not suitably addressed.
This book is essential reading before planning any open water trips and the boat should be inspected to see if it will stay in one piece in heavy seas.